Migraine is a condition that affects 1 in 10 school children in the UK. Each year, almost 3 million school days are missed because of it.
Most children will experience headaches at some point but if they are happening regularly or include other symptoms, you might have a migraine. A lot of people think that migraines are just a headache but they can be very upsetting and some children get pain in different parts of their body: not just their head.
We are still not sure exactly what causes migraine, but we know that it often runs in families – perhaps your Mum or one of your Grandparents suffer? It can be very upsetting but there are lots of things you can do to help control them.
What are the symptoms of a migraine?
Before your migraine, you might want to be on your own, feel tired or get angry quickly. You might also want to eat certain foods or not feel like eating at all.
It is important to remember that everyone’s migraine attack is different. Some children get a really bad headache but this does not always happen. You may get something called ‘abdominal migraine’, which could include stomach pains, feeling sick or being sick. You might feel extra sensitive to lights or sounds, see patterns or even have problems talking.
How is migraine treated?
It is important to talk to your parents or carers if you are worried that you have a migraine. There is no special test for it but a doctor will be able to help you find out what it is.
You might need some medication to take the pain away or, if you get them very often, your doctor may suggest something like ‘Pizotifen’. Many children find that lying down in a dark room and getting some sleep can help them to recover from an attack.
If you get migraines, there are a few things you can do to help stop them:
- Eat regular meals
- Get enough sleep
- Drink lots of water
- Do some gentle exercise.
- Keep a diary!
One of the best ways to try and avoid your migraines is to keep a diary. This will help you to know what might be causing them. It could be stress, excitement, lights, foods and a lot of other things too.
Migraine and school
It can be really tricky when you get a migraine at school but it is nothing to feel bad about! Let your teacher and friends know about your migraines and explain how they make you feel. If your doctor has given you medicine to treat the attack, you should let your teacher know as you might be able to leave a dose at school.
Find out more at: www.migraine.org.uk
If you are a parent or carer, you can call migraine action free on their helpline on: 08456 011033 (open 10am – 4pm weekdays).